I can’t believe it’s time. Five years ago I sat in a room with my coworkers and an architect and had a discussion about dreaming big; designing and planning a new student center that would have everything we wanted – everything we could dream of. Of course shortly after that reality hit. The new student center is a state project with red tape and a limited budget. There’s always a limited budget. Time to get realistic and decide what we need and list our wants in hopes there will be money left over for them. Fast forward to the week before Christmas. The building is up, the meeting room programming is almost complete, and it’s time to get ready to move. Sounds pretty simple, however mobilizing such a big operation has been quite the ordeal.
As I am writing this blog, the equipment that has been packed for two weeks but has not picked up or delivered. The moving project turned out to be significantly more of an undertaking than anyone could have expected.
Preparation for the move meant a lot of packing. Overall, it went pretty smoothly, which is why my stuff has been ready to go for the past two weeks. Road cases are a marvelous invention! They are unique to our business and gave me an advantage over some of the other areas which also had to prepare for their move. My department alone has 30 road cases, 55 pieces of equipment of various sizes, and 60 boxes of stuff to move.
What slowed the process down were the memories; the historical representation of items found in the far back of closets; things that haven’t seen the light of day in years. For instance, as we were cleaning we found a projector from the 80’s and flyers from concerts held in the early 90’s. With each item came conversation about “the old days.” Then there is the equipment we are retiring old and outdated equipment, including; a full lighting rig that hasn’t been updated since 1984, PAs that have been parted and pieced apart for years, and many other items that should have been retired years ago. I finally get to move on from a light board that used a floppy disk for storage!
There are two parts of the move that have been hard. One has been having the patience to wait for someone to move our stuff. My team and I transport this equipment all the time for events. But the labor has been contracted, and we have to wait and watch as others complete the task. Second, is that some of the required equipment and other logistical necessities were not finished as we took occupancy. Some of these things are quick fixes like changing out light connections; others are going to take weeks and months to get finished.
The most frustrating part for me is that so many of these items are out of my hands, as they are considered part of the construction and punch-list items that other people are responsible for. I can’t change the situation so I will make the best of what I have and the resources given to me to create workarounds. For example, I will do what I can with my QSC’s on sticks and lights on stands. I’ll work toward solving some of the problems, and must let others work on the problems I can’t fix. It is hard not to be able to get things done, but my job at this point it to find temporary fixes for my customers until the permanent fixes are in place.
It’s exciting to think about working in a brand new facility. Our soft opening was on January 3rd, and I am grateful that there is some time before the larger events. Perhaps by then the equipment we are missing will be available. If not, I will be renting from some local companies until we can get our purchases figured out and installed.
You can read more on Heather’s Adventures in the Design and Build of the new Student Center.
Heather Holm: Fueled by an interest in live sound at a young age, Heather volunteered to work productions through high school. As a student in college she started working in the production department where she learned how to setup and run audio equipment properly. Heather has been working for the University of Wisconsin La Crosse for five years as the Event Support Coordinator. Her job requires her to be a jack-of-all-trades (Audio technician, venue manager, teacher, safety manager, supervisor, lighting designer and so much more). She loves live sound the most – and says “there is nothing like firing up the PA for the first time”.